A quarter of the British population will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year, with mixed anxiety and depression the most common mental disorder in the UK. Depression affects an estimated 350 million people around the world, fewer than half of those affected receive treatment. In some countries, the figure is fewer than 10% due to barriers of health resources, a lack of healthcare workers and social stigma.
On Depression Awareness Week, organised by the charity Depression Alliance, we look at facts about one of the most common illnesses.
What are the symptoms of depression?
Depression has a variety of different physical and mental symptoms, some of which include lasting feelings of hopelessness and sadness, losing interest in things you used to enjoy, thoughts of self-harm or suicide and anxiety. Physical symptoms include tiredness, sleeping badly, having no appetite or sex drive and experiencing various aches and pains.
Rather than normal spells of feeling down, depression can lead to the patient feeling persistently sad for weeks, months or years. Although depression is a dangerous illness, the right treatment and support can help facilitate a full recovery. It is important to seek help from your GP if you think you may be depressed.